JETS (33-32-9) at KINGS (43-25-6)
7:00PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO: AM 1150
WELCOME, WINNIPEG: This is the third and final meeting with the Winnipeg Jets, the first one at STAPLES Center. The Kings split their two previous games with the Jets at Manitoba’s MTS Centre, falling 5-3 on October 4, and winning 3-1 on March 6. The Kings are 1-1-1 against the Jets ever since the franchise relocated from Atlanta, Georgia prior to the 2011-’12 campaign.
ALIAS: This is the new Jets’ (Atlanta franchise) first ever visit to STAPLES Center. The original Jets franchise, which relocated to Phoenix, AZ in 1996, made their final visit to Los Angeles at Inglewood’s Great Western Forum on January 3, 1996, winning the contest 5-4.
The Atlanta Thrashers played seven games at STAPLES Center between 1999 and 2010; the Kings were flawless against Georgia’s club, going 5-0-2 in those meetings.
18 YEARS LATER: Jon Rosen of LAKingsInsider.com has Los Angeles’ first hosting of the Jets in almost two decades covered from all angles:
27 TO 26: Alec Martinez is playing the best hockey of his pro career, and the offensive numbers are just the half of it. With Martinez’s 11 points (5G, 6A) in the past 13 games, has come consistency in the defensive zone, including regular time on the penalty kill, and discipline (4 PIM).
Slava Voynov has been solid on the defensive end, but hasn’t found the net in 57 games, scoring his last goal on November 14 in the Kings’ 3-2 win against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Voynov’s shot from the point, and his uncanny ability to trigger off one-timers from passes low in the zone was a respected threat from the Kings’ blue-line the past two seasons; can the young Russian snap his slump tonight?
HOME COOKING: After matching a club record of eight straight wins on the road, the Kings kick off a three-game home stand at STAPLES Center tonight, where they’re 21-13-3 this season. With little movement in the standings possible, up or down, the focus is now about getting their gears together on home ice. Kings captain Dustin Brown spoke with the Los Angeles Times’ Helene Elliott Thursday night in Pittsburgh:
“When you look at the difference between us and the top teams in the league, their home records reflect what we don't have at home,” Brown said, “and that's just a matter of us having that grind mentality at home.”
SAME OL’ CLUB: The last time the Jets’ franchise visited STAPLES Center on October 12, 2010, they were still recognized as the Atlanta Thrashers. It was the Kings’ home opener of the 2010-’11 season, and they won 3-1 as Jarret Stoll buried the game-winning goal with 13:50 to play in regulation time, Jonathan Quick made 31 saves.
A CLASSIC ATLANTA WINN
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch KINGS LIVE on FOX SPORTS WEST at 6:30, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call on scene at STAPLES Center for puck drop at 7:00 PM PST, a half an hour early due to CBC’s “Hockey Night In Canada” National Telecast.